We went into our local HMV branch the other week, and decided to spend some money, as our local has for the moment been spared from ‘The Great HMV Cull’, as nobody other than a few Northerners were calling it. Anyway we found that Patrick Wolf’s ‘Sundark and Riverlight’ was on the BOGOF promotion, which delighted us, although this delight rapidly vanished when we couldn’t really find anything of much worth to pair it up with. In the end, we went for Viva Hate, as one of our favourite bands is named after a track on said album, and thus we almost felt obligated to buy it.
Then we looked at the new releases section and saw Hadouken!’s brand new album, Every Weekend. We are kind-of fans of Hadouken!, having seen them live once and owning both their previous full-lengths. We found their first attempt very schizophrenic; the singles, or “buzz tracks”, from the album were interesting, and the other tracks quite dire. At some point, we cheaply picked up their second album ‘For The Masses’, and we really liked it, for it made up in consistency what their previous effort lacked. Whilst still retaining the Hadouken! sound, it was much less teenage, less bedroom-produced, much more polished and more cohesive. Therefore, buying the third Hadouken! album really shouldn’t have been a big risk. Indeed, we were realistically hoping for an album even better than For The Masses, which has become one of those albums which never leaves our car.
Unfortunately, they have regressed massively with this album. Single ‘Levitate’, underwhelming and so-so as it is, is indicative of the album as a whole. Hadouken! have quite evidently been inspired by the way EDM in general ,and dubstep in particular, have both gained traction in terms of mainstream exposure since their last record. Thus their new one incorporates elements which sound heavily influenced by, amongst others, Calvin Harris and David Guetta. They have also decided to bring in some of the worst elements of dubstep, as demonstrated in ‘Spill Your Gut’.
The album just does absolutely nothing. It doesn’t sound like the music Hadouken! should be making at this point of their career. If anything, they have regressed back further than the point they were at during the release of their first album, for at least then they were doing their own thing, and gaining plaudits for this. Whilst debut effort Music for an Accelerated Culture is by no means perfect, it does contain some interesting thoughts and sounds in the form of ‘Crank it Up’, ‘That Boy That Girl’ and ‘Get Smashed Gate Crashed’. At the point during Every Weekend, 6 tracks in, where ‘You Keep Me Hanging On’ is sampled, the thought process of our mind literally went ‘Oh no. Oh no. This is absolute shit.’ Although to be honest the thought ‘this is absolute shit’ first crosses your mind on hearing the introduction of track number 3, ‘Bliss Out’.
All is not lost. There are still elements of songs, rare flashes of brilliance, which remind us why we would probably class ourselves Hadouken! fans in the first place. There are bits of songs which we love. The problem is, the songs never go where we want them to, and the bits we like are quickly swept away, almost as though the band are embarrassed by them, under the tidal wave of too much ‘noise’. The songs are over-produced and have far too much going on. It is completely a case of taking a ‘throwing everything including the kitchen sink’ approach to making music, and whilst such a maximalist approach may have guided them thus far into their careers, we feel it’s time for the band to ‘grow up’ and stick to the type of music they are good at making, rather than trying to be jacks of all trades.
Some of the songs never escalate in the way they should do. This was one of the things we most remember about seeing them live – some of their amazing breakdowns. The songs aren’t afforded the opportunity to break down properly. They are not given enough time or space to breath. So whilst we think Hadouken! haven’t completely lost the raw ingredients of how to bake a good song, it feels at times like they have lost their way, distracted by trying to be something they’re not. Parasite, for example, sounds exactly like a Pendulum track.
Proof in the form of an awful photograph that we did once upon a time see Hadouken! live.
Best tracks: Oxygen, The Vortex, Levitate, As One
Worst tracks: Bliss Out, Bad Signal, Spill Your Guts
Overall verdict: Not popfoolish whatsoever. Give this one a miss, but try ‘For The Masses’ by the same band for an example of how best to deliver this kind of music.